Vintage Treasures: Minds Unleashed, edited by Groff Conklin

Vintage Treasures: Minds Unleashed, edited by Groff Conklin

Minds Unleashed-small Minds Unleashed-back-small

Minds Unleashed, Tempo Books, 1970. Cover by, well, no one really knows.

You know what I try hard to do every day? Not sit around and talk about the good ‘ole days. It takes effort, let me tell you.

Not that everything was better in the good ‘ole days, Lord knows. But you could get terrific original anthologies in spinner racks at the supermarket for under a buck, and let’s face it, that’s what really matters.

Anthologies like Groff Conklin’s Minds Unleashed (Tempo, 1970). Just look at that gorgeous cover. A big red brain with a glowing blue ball representing… I dunno? The super brainpower we’d all have fifty years in the future, probably? I love it. I don’t love that Tempo Books was such a low-budget operation that they couldn’t afford to tell you who painted the damn cover, but these are the burdens we live with. Mind you, if you do the math, that far-off future fifty years after 1970 is… the year 2020. Which means my blue floaty brainball should show up any day now. Come on, future brainpower.

While we’re waiting, we can all can help prepare our superbrains by reading great science fiction stories about “the potential of human imagination and the range of strength of human intelligence” by Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, Murray Leinster, Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Eric Frank Russell, Isaac Asimov, William Tenn, and many others. Let’s have a look at the table of contents.

First thing you should know about Minds Unleashed is that it was originally released in 1965 by Grosset & Dunlap under the title Giants Unleashed. Why repackage a 5-year old anthology under a different title? Because the paperback cover for Giants Unleashed featured zero red brains or floaty brainballs. Plus it was ugly.

Giants Unleashed-small


Whew. That cover has too many equations, and waaaay too much green anatomy. Kudos to the marketing intern who turned Giants Unleashed, a book I would not have touched with a ten foot pole, into the far superior and more interesting Minds Unleashed. I hope you got promoted, kid.

While Minds Unleashed contains the full TOC for Giants Unleashed, Tempo Books did cut Conklin’s original introduction, “The Non-Limitation of Intelligence,” probably for reasons of space. So if you’re the kind of reader who likes introductions, you may want to track down the original edition. Just be sure to pay the extra fee to get a copy without a dust jacket.

Groff Conklin edited some 44 anthologies between 1946 and 1968; this was the 35th. Like a lot of anthologists of the era, he seemed to have a fondness for Astounding; over half of the stories in Minds Unleashed originally appeared in John W. Campbell’s magazine. The stories in the book first appeared between 1939 – 1958.

Br-r-r Groff Conklin-smallHere’s that Table of Contents I promised you.

“Microcosmic God” by Theodore Sturgeon (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1941)
“Commencement Night” by Richard Ashby (Astounding Science Fiction, August 1953)
“The Deep Range” by Arthur C. Clarke (Argosy (UK), April 1954)
“Machine Made” by J. T. McIntosh (New Worlds #10 Summer 1951)
“Trip One” by Edward Grendon (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1949)
“Venus Is a Man’s World” by William Tenn (Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1951)
“Good-Bye, Ilha!” by Laurence Manning (Beyond Human Ken, 1952)
“Misbegotten Missionary” by Isaac Asimov (Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1950)
“The Ethical Equations” by Murray Leinster (Astounding Science Fiction, June 1945)
“Misfit” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, November 1939)
“Genius” by Poul Anderson (Astounding Science Fiction, December 1948)
“Basic Right” by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding Science Fiction, April 1958)

Considering how many anthologies Conklin produced over his long career, I’m a little embarrassed that we’ve only covered one other in all these years. But it’s a good one.

Br-r-r-! edited by Groff Conklin

I found a copy of Minds Unleashed in one of the many vintage paperback collections I purchased recently. It was published by Tempo Books, a division of Grosset & Dunlap, in October 1970. It is 248 pages, priced at 95 cents. The cover artist is unknown.

See all our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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Thomas Parker

I always liked Groff Conklin anthologies when I was a kid because I though his name sounded Vulcan.


Aahhh, the books you picture, John, take me back to my factory job days in Ohio (’71-’75), when I couldn’t afford a 3rd year of college, slept in my parents’ basement (’cause Dad wouldn’t co-sign for an apartment I wanted to lease), and I found a listing for “A Change of Hobbit” bookstore in the back of an issue of “F & SF.” I still have “Giants Unleashed” and “Br-r-r-!” in my collection, which I obtained through ACOH, along with literally hundreds of other SF and Fantasy books, and as many back issues of “F & SF,” “Astounding/Analog,” “Galaxy,” “Amazing” & “Fantastic Stories” as they could find for me. Somehow, I found more time to read then than I do now, having been retired from teaching for three years. Time to get to my own basement and dig these Conklin collections out of my boxed-up library.

Thomas Parker

You should have come out from Ohio to Los Angeles, Smitty. A Change of Hobbit was literally heaven on earth. It’s been gone for decades now, but if I gad a time machine I’d set it for 1976 and head straight back to that store.

Thomas Parker

I’d also use the time machine to fix my spelling errors.


I did attend Discon II in D.C. in 1974, and Sherry Gottlieb, who ran (and owned?) ACOH, was supposedly there (I never got the chance to meet her). However, a couple of her LA friends, and a kid from North Tonawanda, NY, who also ordered by mail from ACOH, were referred to me by Sherry, and for most of the con, three or four of us were together for most of the events. I lost contact with all of them when I lost my factory job and couldn’t afford to keep ordering from the store.


I like this article so much! I also bought my first anthology off a spinning rack (Towards Infinity, edited by Damon Knight). Not a bad start. Not a bad start at all. Of course, where I live, you wouldn’t have seen Tempo Books. They were always Pan, Corgi, Sphere, or some other UK imprint. Miss those spinning racks.

Todd Mason

Tempo was G&D’s teen-oriented paperback line, an extension of the Grosset & Dunlap policy of being a Paperback (or at least discount) Hardcover line…and the publishers of all those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books for younger-yet readers. I best remember Tempo paperbacks for being much of the fodder for Xerox’s challenge to Scholastic Book Services in the ’70s, at least, and probably in the latter ’60s as well…Xerox would send out catalog fliers into the classrooms much as Scholastic did, only mostly buying their books from Tempo and a few other publishers rather than publish them themselves. A lot of tv tie-ins among other more classroom-approved fare.

Eugene R.

Boy, just the name of Groff Conklin takes me back! His anthologies were a major part of my early sf reading/learning.

As to why we had more time “back in the day”, my theory is I could stuff a 180-220 page paperback into the back pocket of my pants (literal “pocket” books) and thus always have it to hand when Life offered a spare 10-15 minutes of reading time.

And I would venture a guess that the Minds Unleashed cover artist is Paul Lehr, who was very active in the late 1960s-early 1970s, was commissioned by Tempo Books in 1970 (according to ISFDB), and produced similar work. Cf. Bantam Books, 1965, Psychedelic-40:

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